Colorado can’t keep up in 45-23 loss to No 17 UCLA

Colorado hung with UCLA in the first half before the Bruins

began their roll to a one-sided victory. The Buffaloes lost their

13th straight Pac-12 game and their 21st consecutive road game

against a ranked team.

Yet coach Mike MacIntyre is seeing undeniable progress in his

rebuilding project.

Brett Hundley threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two more

scores, Devin Fuller accounted for three TDs, and No. 17 UCLA shook

off back-to-back losses with a 45-23 victory over Colorado on

Saturday night.

Sefo Liufau passed for 247 yards for the Buffaloes (3-5, 0-5),

who haven’t beaten a ranked team on the road since 2002. Christian

Powell rushed for 97 yards, Tony Jones rushed for a score, and Will

Oliver kicked three field goals for the Buffs, who took solace in

the fact they stuck with a Pac-12 power for most of the evening

”I think it shows we’re making progress,” MacIntyre said.

”That gives everybody a little bit more confidence. Those kids and

coaches in that locker room are all down, but there’s a resilience

to them. … I saw great fight and great effort. I did see a lot of

improvement, especially in our quarterback.”

Colorado began the afternoon with a promising victory, winning

the opening coin toss for the first time in eight games this

season. The Buffs trailed 21-13 at halftime despite possessing the

ball for more than 20 minutes and outgaining the Bruins, who

committed 75 yards of penalties in the first half.

UCLA scored on its first possession after halftime, and the

Buffs’ night got no better. But nearly everybody heading back to

Boulder chose to see the bright side of another dark day.

”I think we’re taking a step forward every week,” said Liufau,

who went 25 for 36. ”Obviously, we want to get a faster result and

win games, but it’s not happening right now. We’ve been in a lot of

games recently. It’s just a play here, a play there.”

Paul Richardson shook off an injury to catch eight passes for 81

yards and a touchdown. Richardson, a Los Angeles native whose

father played for UCLA, was dismissed from UCLA three years ago

after getting arrested on suspicion of theft before he ever played

for the Bruins.

Damien Thigpen ran for a touchdown for the Bruins (6-2, 3-2

Pac-12), who rebounded from road defeats at Stanford and Oregon

despite a sluggish start in their homecoming game.

”It’s a relief, but our confidence was never lost,” said

Hundley, who moved into third place on UCLA’s career total yardage

list. ”Obviously, I know and we know that we can still get the job

done. I feel like this team can really respond well, no matter what

we go through.”

UCLA tried and failed to join the Pac-12’s upper echelon over

the previous two weeks. The losses followed a similar pattern: The

Bruins hung with the West Coast’s best until the second half, but

an ineffective offense eventually left its defense on the field too

long, leading to one-sided defeats in the final minutes.

Back home, UCLA’s defense finally got some help from the offense

in a 412-yard performance. The Bruins have outscored their

opponents 199-66 in four victories at the Rose Bowl this season,

and they buried Colorado early in the second half with a 28-3

surge.

”I hate to admit this, but I thought there was a little

hangover,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. ”We didn’t have the

enthusiasm that we typically have. I told them at halftime that I

didn’t think we were enjoying the game enough.”

The Bruins won despite 11 penalties for 122 yards, steadily

pulling away from Colorado with solid defense and just enough

playmaking from Hundley, their sophomore quarterback. Hundley

finished with 345 total yards, passing Tom Ramsey and Cory Paus on

UCLA’s career yardage list in just his 22nd game with the

Bruins.

Hundley passed for 273 yards and scored on runs of 11 and 1

yards. Fuller caught a 6-yard TD pass after his long score, and the

sophomore added a rushing TD with 3:36 to play in his most complete

game since switching from quarterback to receiver last year.

After opening the game with two fruitless drives, UCLA’s offense

drew a chorus of boos out of the Rose Bowl stands after a

yardage-losing play to open its third drive.

On the next play, Hundley delivered a 76-yard TD strike down the

middle to Fuller, who caught the ball in heavy coverage and kept

his feet for a score – the longest pass in the careers of both

Hundley and Fuller.

Colorado went back ahead in the second quarter with a 76-yard

drive ending in Liufau’s TD pass to Richardson, but the Bruins

responded with another strong drive capped by Hundley’s 11-yard TD

run up the middle.

UCLA’s Cameron Judge then forced a fumble on Colorado’s ensuing

kickoff return, and Hundley hit Fuller for a 6-yard TD catch capped

by a pirouette at the goal line for an 11-point lead.